The dollars marched in two by two: Huawei tips $1m into Berkeley AI lab

Chinese firm's Noah's Ark lab to hook up with US brainboxes

Huawei is handing $1m to the University of California Berkeley’s AI lab to foster a research and development partnership between industry and academia.

Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) Lab will work with the Noah’s Ark Laboratory of Huawei to accelerate research into the main areas of AI, which includes “deep learning, reinforcement learning, machine learning, natural language processing and computer vision.”

BAIR has over 30 faculty members and more than one hundred graduate students applying AI in different subjects from robotics to cyber security.

The Noah’s Ark Lab specialises in data mining and machine learning which has been used in Huawei's smartphones to improve telecom networks and cloud computing products.

Huawei hasn't hinted at what sort of AI products it hopes to build with BAIR. But if trends are anything to go by, the Chinese telecoms firm could be trying to build their own voice-powered AI assistant for its mobile phones.

The biggest technology companies all have their own AI assistant for its mobile phones or are in the process of developing one.

Apple made its mark with Siri. Google has just released Allo, an app that provides a preview of its Google Assistant. Samsung has hinted it, too, is investing in its own AI software, as it announced it had acquired Viv, the company responsible for building Siri.

AI chatbot assistants have proved popular in China. Many developers have trialled their AI helpers on China’s popular mobile messaging app, WeChat, which says it has more than 800 million active users, including Microsoft with their bot Xiaoice.

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